LQHBA Insider - By Martha Claussen November  21, 2018

TRAINER JOSUE HUITRON

There are some very notable horsemen training horses in Louisiana; overall an impressive mix of iconic veterans and rising stars. This month's LQHBA "Insider" profiles Josue Huitron, who is emerging as a young horsemen with a very solid future!

Family Ties

Huitron, 26, was born in Coahuila, Mexico, but grew up in Texas. While attending Elgin High School, he spent considerable amount of time assisting his father, Fructuoso, with his Quarter Horse stable. And while he greatly respects his father, he admits that he did not always agree on the training of their horses.

"I had different ideas and wanted to try to go on my own," said Huitron. " I bought a horse named Damthaluck for $2,500. He had not been doing that well, but he began improving and winning races. It made me proud!"

Noting his dedication, Fructuoso asked him to take eight horses to Louisiana Downs in 2014.

Huitron branched out on his own in 2016, winning 16 races and adding 21 wins the next year. However, 2018 has been a different story as he has already saddled 44 winners and has eclipsed the $1.2 million mark in earnings. He won 11 races at Delta Downs, ranking third in money earned in the 2018 standings and currently has 30 horses in his barn.

Josue's assistant is his 20-year-old brother, Joel.

"He's a hard worker and we get along well," said Josue.

Huitron is very appreciative of the support he receives from each of his family members, including his father, his mother, Maria and siblings Veronica, Sonia, Maria and Blanca as well as brothers Fructuoso, Jr., Edgar, Marco, Jesus, Joel and Alejandro. Josue and his wife, Cinthya welcomed their first child in August, a daughter they named Natalia.

Sadly, in July, his uncle, Eusevio Huitron lost his battle with cancer and passed away. He was just 54 years-old and it was a tragic loss for the close-knit family.

"It was hard," admitted Josue. "My uncle was a great horseman and always a very positive person."

Stock Soaring in 2018

Huitron has trained several successful horses including Sizzlin on Da Bayou, Town Tiger and Piloto Ovation, but earlier this year, he took his stable up to new heights. On May 18, Huitron won his first futurity with Im For Real, a filly bred and owned by Dale Rogers. Dismissed by the betting public at odds of 28-1, the gray filly by Whathaveigottado, ran a huge race, breaking her maiden in the $283,715 Louisiana Breeders' Lassie Futurity (RG2) for 2-year-old fillies at Delta Downs.

Rogers raised cattle and working horses for over 50 years, but admits that breeding a racehorse has been a very special experience.

"I love to raise them and this filly was such a good natured baby," he said. "You never know if they can run, so I was pretty surprised when she ran like she did!"

While it might have been a risk for Rogers to entrust his filly with a young trainer, he had confidence in Huitron, who also conditions another Rogers homebred, Igottarampage. Also sired by Whathaveigottado out the Strike the Cash mare Rampaging Cash, the bay gelding broke his maiden at first asking, winning his trial to the Mardi Gras Futurity and running fourth in the final.

"He's a fine young trainer and I am proud of him," said Rogers.

Less than two months after the Lassie victory, Huitron won the richest race of the Delta Downs Quarter Horse meet, the $700,000 Lee Berwick Futurity (RG1) with Eysa Jess Jumpn.

Owner Jose Estrada told Huitron he wanted to win a big race, so Huitron asked him to sign a ticket for $11,500 at the LQHBA Yearling Sale for the Heza Fast Dash filly.

"She was a small filly, but I felt she could be a good racehorse," recalled Huitron.

Also ridden in trials by Guadalupe Lucio, Jr., Eysa Jess Jumpn covered 350 yards in :17.288, which was the fastest time in 14 heats.

"She was too calm at the gates in the beginning, but we worked with her and taught her how to leave," said Huitron. "Once she got going, she always knew how to pass other horses."

Career Boost for Young Jockey Guadalupe Lucio, Jr.

Another member of the Huitron team is 20-year old jockey Guadalupe Lucio, Jr. who arrived in Louisiana last December hoping to pick up some mounts.

"I went to the receiving barn and just asked Josue if he needed any help," recalled Lucio. "I ended up helping him on his farm in Vinton and then he named me on some horses in Shreveport."

Winning the Lassie Futurity was the biggest win for both Huitron and Lucio, and despite the abundance of experienced jockeys at Delta Downs, Huitron retained Lucio to ride Eysa Jess Jumpn in trials for the Lee Berwick Futurity.

"He stuck up for me and I will always be grateful," added Lucio. "Josue gallops and breaks his babies. Even though he was never a jockey, he gave me some very valuable tips on riding."

Lucio was injured at Delta Downs and was unable to ride fastest qualifier Eysa Jess Jumpn in the final. David Alvarez stepped in and got the win for Huitron and Estrada Quarter Horses. Fully recovered from his back injury, Lucio is currently riding first call for Huitron at Evangeline Downs.

LQHBA Louisiana Million Ahead

Currently the leading trainer at Evangeline Downs, Huitron will have several 2-year-olds in trials for the biggest racing event of the year, the LQHBA Louisiana Million. Trials will be run on November 16 with the ten fastest qualifiers earning a place in the starting gate on Saturday, December 15 at Evangeline Downs.

Huitron is hopeful that he will qualify for the final; his wins in the Lassie and Lee Berwick have given him plenty of confidence.

"I was pretty nervous before the Lee Berwick Futurity," admitted Huitron. "But it's best not to put too much pressure on yourself or your horses. Your dream is always to win a big stakes, but you have to stay grounded and just look at it like any other race."

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The LQHBA Insider is a monthly feature written by Martha Claussen for www.lqhba.com. She served as publicity director at Sam Houston Race Park for ten years. She continues to be active in writing, fan education and Quarter Horse racing publicity in Texas, Louisiana and other regions in North America.

Photo courtesy: Coady Photography